Friday, August 29, 2008

Had I known there would be cocktails...

30 has arrived and there's drinks!

What's not to love?

Have a great August 29th, all.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

New broom [RECIPES]

ATTENTION FARM SHARE: I don't want anymore kale or chard or beet greens. Spinach is OK.

Seriously now, our share last week was just wrong. Look at all these fucking greens. How can two regular people with lives and a taste for (PETA'rs, look away) animal flesh, get through so many greens in 6 days time?


I am considering using all future leafy green farm share inclusions (save for spinach. Wuv you, spinach!) as bouquets rather than food. I mean, they keep forever if you trim their stalks and put them in water, and with the red, yellow, white, purple and green veins - they are sorta pretty.

And they're freer than flowers, which is to say that they are free and cut flowers from TJ's (as cheap as they may be) are not. Anyway, this is my new approach for dealing with the overabundance of Greens We Can't Possibly Eat in the weekly farm share.

The greens become our new Flower Share. Yay!

I've also been really jealous of Lynn's farm share because they give her flowers, so this is my way of saying, "Me too!"

Also, as an aside, if company's coming and I don't have cut flowers, all that chard in the garden is up for grabs, too. Be warned, chard. You're marked.

So, even though these greens got all bundled up like a centerpiece, I didn't use them as a centerpiece. I actually found a recipe in which to use all the insistent kale and chard from this week's share and when I say found I mean Thimbleanna took mercy on my poor fiber-rich soul and sent me a recipe for Portuguese Kale and Sausage Soup from her Williams Sonoma Soup cookbook.

Now, I will say that the idea of making soup in summer seemed unlikely, but for some blessed reason it was in the 70s on Saturday and I made this without stroking out in my overheated kitchen. If I were to make it today, on the other hand, I doubt I'd make it past peeling the potatoes since it's 100 degrees (REALLY? 100 DEGREES? I do not live in Phoenix. This is not right.) outside and my brain melts down at 109. For the record.

But for one blissful SUMMER evening last Saturday, I made soup and did not die. And also - it was really good and did an effective job of brooming. You can pretend this isn't important, but you'd be lying.

AND PLUS - I got to use my mandolin, which I was *so sure* was necessary and then I got it and realized what a hot fresh pain in my ass it is to use/clean/keep my fingers safe from. I mean, I did use it for this recipe, because there's a buttload of prep that has to be done, but if I'm not chopping/dicing/waffle cutting more than half a dozen things, that mandolin stays safely stowed in the drawer where it can't slice off my arm.

The fact that CI thinks this is the best mandolin on the market just reaffirms in my mind the unnecessariness of this object in my cupboard. If The Best One sucks like this one, then I will go happily back to my sharp ass knives and forget I ever spent $40 or whatever on this de-limber.


On Thimble's suggestion, and because I changed things, I'm renaming this recipe to suit my needs.

Finny's Broom Soup w/ Sausage
Adapted from William Sonoma Soup's
Portuguese Kale and Sausage Soup
1/4 c extra virgins
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 lbs of the potatoes you have on hand (in our case fingerling, russet and gold) peeled and sliced thin-ish
32 oz chicken stock
16 oz water
3/4 lb polish sausage, cut on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick
1 bunch kale, thick stems and ribs removed, sliced into ribbons
1 bunch chard, sliced into ribbons
Salt and pepper as you like
More extra virgins for serving

To make
In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and saute until lightly browned, 5 - 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the potatoes, toss to coat, and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the stock and water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender, coarsely puree the soup, making sure to leave some of the potato intact. Add the sausage, cover, return to medium heat, and simmer until the sausage is heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook, uncovered, until it is wilted but still bright green, 3 - 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls, dress lightly with some extra virgins and serve it up. Warn your eaters that it is MOLTEN LAVA and ask that they first distract their tongues with some tomato salad while it cools a bit...

Finny's Tomato Salad
Recipe of my own devising.
Which is obvious because it's not very technical.

4 homegrown or otherwise delicious tomatoes, sliced into bite sized wedges
A handful of homegrown or otherwise very fresh and delicious sweet basil, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
2 T Extra virgins
2 T Balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
Pepperoncino fino or cayenne pepper to taste

To make
In a clean glass bowl, rub the cut sides of the garlic on the bowl until suitably coated. Toss in your tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic, salt and red pepper. You can also throw in the now semi-squished garlic, it's fine.

Stir this up really well, making sure to drag those tomatoes along the entire surface of the bowl's interior to get all that garlic juice mixed in. Let it sit for about 15 minutes (it's good to get this prepped and sitting while the potatoes are boiling for the soup. Just an FYI.) and then add the basil, stir it up and let it sit for a few more minutes or however long before you feed it to your guests (or self) as a primer for the MOLTEN LAVA soup broom detailed above so that hopefully you don't starve waiting for that shit to cool off, or worse, scorch your tongue off thus rendering your tasting abilities null and ruining your love affair with the tomatoes.

Or whatever.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm just that dorky. [TUTORIAL]

Sometimes it's not enough that I am dorking it up in the kitchen making pie crust from scratch and pie filling from handpicked local berries. Or that I'm wearing a handmade apron while I do it.

No, sometimes I have to push the boundaries of my dorkiness by then wrapping the pie up just so to deliver to my neighbors as a thank you for the chainsaw loaner.

Thankfully using a chainsaw isn't dorky, otherwise I'd totally combust with dorkiness.

Ok, I'm not going to say dorky anymore.

Last weekend our nice neighbors loaned us their chainsaw to help us wreak havoc on our street tree that is trying to fake its own death. And thank god they did because WHOA it is not fun to trim giant branches with a hand saw. As much as our other neighbor likes to demonstrate his own enthusiasm for said pastime (he's crazy).

And so, I thought them worthy of blackberry pie honor. I think you'd agree - it's awful nice to loan out power tools. Even nicer when you come back later from your errands to check on the progress being made with your tools and then deliver beers to all the neighbors operating your tools.

They love their irony, don't you know.

But after baking the pie and covering it in tinfoil for delivery I felt, somehow, unsatisfied.

Like I was letting down the glory of the pie by hiding it under ugly tinfoil that was going to be thrown in the recycler all torn up and stupid looking.

Then my annoying voice said something I'm learning to hate, Certainly you can do better than this. Yes, I mean you there.

Ugh. It never rests, this voice.

But it was right. I'll admit. I *could* do better than tinfoil in which to deliver the Hallowed Blackberry Pie From Scratch, Etc. to the nice neighbors that give us chainsaws and beer (someone - quick - name your band Chainsaws and Beer!)

But how?

Well, I guess I thought about how it would look nice to set out a pie on the dinner table on a nice placemat looking all come hither-y and stuff because that is how I came up with this:

The Not Tinfoil Pie Delivery Tote

Now, this first iteration, having been done on the spur of the moment without any time for tweaking and perfection-making, hasn't yet reached the fullest of its potential - but I will amend my tutorial to add in these perfection-making tips so that you can have a Not Tinfoil Pie Delivery Tote that meets all of your wildest dreams and more.

Basically, what I'm saying is that the handles are longer in the tutorial here than I made them for this example and that's the only improvement I'd make for now. You feel free to change it up to suit your own peculiarities.

Materials needed:
A fabric placemat of your choosing
A spool of 5/8" ribbon cut into the following lengths:
Handles: 18" (2) Side ties: 6" (8) Button ties: 7 1/2" (2)
2 smallish buttons
Cotton thread
Fray check
A 9" pie (flavor of your choosing - I am very flexible, see?)

First, set your pie on the placemat and admire it for a moment. It helps if the placemat is ironed so that it doesn't look like a pile of shit like mine did when I first attempted this step. Stupid old placemat I never used after I washed it! Because, hello, placemats should not require ironing.


Just to make sure that the placemat is of adequate size, with the pie centered on the mat, fold the edges around the pie to make sure it covers at least 2/3 of the pie. An open center is OK. Also make a note of which side you want the pie to sit on. This will be called the Pie Side.

Pie Side

The other side, which you'll see when your tote is in tote mode will be called the Tote Side.

Tote Side

Got all that? It's not too hard.


Then, sew a buttonhole on one end of each Button Tie (7 1/2" or long enough to button one edge of the mat to the other when wrapped around the pie with the sewn-down edge folded under.)

Then, following the measurements on the image below, fold each ribbon under on one end and pin , raw edge up, along the edge of the mat as shown.

Once pinned, sew all edges down below the raw edge and then apply Fray Check to all raw edges of the ribbon. This will create little face up loops at the end of each ribbon when Tote Side is up and the raw edges won't fray and ruin your life. Honest, this works out.

Next, get your pie back centered on the mat, Pie Side up, and wrap the mat around the pie. With your Button Ties, stretch them out across the gap and, with a tailors chalk or blue erasable pen, mark the spot for the buttons by putting your chalk through the buttonhole on your ribbon and marking the opposite side of the Tote Side.

Sew your buttons on in the spot marked by your pen/chalk.

Finally, trim all the loose thread from your Tote, place Pie Side up. Put your pie in the middle of the mat, wrap the tote around the pie, tie the side ties into bows or whathaveyou, button the buttons across the top and tote it over to your neighbor's house so that they can unfold it on their dining room table and enjoy it sans ugly tinfoil.

Also, the tote is machine washable, in the event that your blackberry pie (or whatever flavor you choose) leaks delicious goo onto the mat.

Now you see, my dorkiness (sorry) has reach all-knew heights. I will quickly have to do something to redeem myself as Cool in your eyes.

Do people still think smoking makes you look cool? I should start smoking. Or maybe I'll get a barbed wire tattoo on my arm. Or pierce something.

Unless drinking gin while baking and delivering pies is considered cool. In which case I'M WAY COOL.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pie Season [Recipe]

I heard some rat bastard saying "Fall" the other day and I threw up in my mouth.

I will say it again, y'all - August = SUMMER. Not fall. Just so we have that straight.

August also means pie, and so I'm going to institute a new, acceptable, alternate season name for August: Pie Season.

Feel free to use this new season name whenever you feel it's appropriate. Frankly, use it in December- I won't be mad. That's the beauty of Pie Season - it can really BE any month. As long as you're making pie.

You know, I can be loosey goosey like that.

For me though, the height of Pie Season is August.

This is because August is when the blackberries are ripe on The Hedge at my folks' place and my mom and I can celebrate my favorite day of the year (seriously, more favorite than Thanksgiving and you know I love a holiday where I can have four desserts): Blackberry Picking Day.

Ok, so, it's not a creative name. Whatever. Neither is 4th of July, and everyone seems to like that day so damn much.

Blackberry Pickin' Day goes like this:

I drive up to my mom's place in Sonoma County. We put on our straw hats and long sleeves and sheen of sunscreen and long pants and shoes that cover our toes and socks even though it's super fucking hot out.

This is The Hedge. Now you see why we call it that. It also ate an old Jeep.

Then we collect up all the random pint baskets my mom's been hording from the grocery store since I was, like, 5 years old and an abandoned cardboard flat and head out to The Hedge to stain our fingers and faces purple while talking trash about the neighbors and seeing who can sweat the most (me).

Some of these baskets are older than me.

After a few hours of being rudely mauled by The Hedge while we fill every last pint basket, we head inside, rinse them off and separate them into 5 cup servings for their individual Pie Bags.

Pie Bags are very technical. As you can well see here.

Pie Bags are my ingenious ifIdosaysomyself inventions that make the making of the pie so easy and way less messy, which, if you know me, are two very important things.

See, first, you put 5 cups of berries into a bag. This is the amount of berries that Joy of Cooking says go into a fruit pie, and I'm not going to fight them about it since I figure that they know. Then you freeze these individual bags for future use. In this case, I had 9+ bags of berries. That means 9+ pies. Or 2+ pies and also a batch of jam. Or 2+ pies and some jam and then I eat the rest when Bubba is out of the house. Or maybe I share with neighbors because my big mouth gets me intro trouble by offering things to people when it should really shut-up and not tell.

Or whatever.

Then, when you're ready to make pie, peel one frozen flat bag out of the freezer and let it thaw.

(Oh yeah, this is where The Recipe starts. Try to follow along.)

When it's thawed, preheat your oven to 425 and dump in the other pie filling ingredients:

3/4 sugar
3 T cornstarch
1 T lemon juice
1/8 t salt

Trust me. It's all in there.

Zip the bag shut and mix it all around until all you see is the frozen lemon ice cube if that's what you're using for lemon juice.

I like to hoard lemon juice. So I freeze it in the ice cube trays and put the cubes in this bag.
1 cube = 1 tablespoon. Just so you know.

When I make two pies, I do this process twice. See, there's some math.

I think Joy says to let the filling sit for a bit, which is fine since I still have to make the crust.

Pie Crust:
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c shortening
1 T ice cold water
1 t sugar
1 t salt

Cut it all together (minus the water) in a bowl using a pastry cutter. There's instructions for using the food processor which I find to be an unnecessarily aggravating process so I avoid it. Obviously.

Drizzle the water over the mixture and cut in until the consistency is that of crumbly peas or some nonsense. Roll it out, chill for a few minutes and then fold into a pie plate and fill with your berry mixture.

I always forget to drain some of the juice, but it still worked out.
Sometimes a turkey baster can be handy for this.
Sometimes I just move on.

Then cover the pie with your second crust. If you want to get fancy, you can do lattice or some other kind of crazy bullshit, but I am not talented in the patience and lattice category, so I do the finger crimping business and then cut some vents in there all haphazard-like and go on with my life.

You're only seeing a corner of this pie because the other corner is fucked up.

Then slide this baby onto a rimmed cookie sheet covered with tinfoil. This will help with the wretched bubbling over that always happens no matter how careful you are.

Bake for 30 minutes at 425, (this is a good time to wrap some foil around those edges) then reduce the heat to 350 and bake until the aforementioned bubbling occurs and the crust is nice and golden but FOR GODSSAKE not burnt.

Notice that my crust is not burnt and yet, I still look fucked up.

See, the beauty of blackberry pie (or any pie, really) is that you can have it any time of the day. Not just any season, but any time of the day in that season. So, breakfast is totally fine. Afternoon snack is also fine. Dessert after dinner is obviously fine and, hey, if you feel like it, hide in the closet when you're supposed to be walking the dog and have some pie.

Unless you're Bubba, in which case, walk the dog while eating pie. Then return home for your prize: more pie.

This was Sunday's breakfast.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Running Update: Look right at me - telling the truth.

Once in a while I don't lie.

Don't ask me if your butt looks big in those pants or anything, because I'm still the same shameful liar deep down, but when I promised to try to not die while running, I was telling the truth.

You see, last Saturday I was scheduled to do my first 10 mile training run and, conveniently (hate you Weather Man) it was also predicted to be in the mid 90s.

Yippee. Whippy. Whippy.

Now, hearkening back to the dark days of May, when I became suicidal and ran 9 miles in 95 degree weather thus giving myself a stunning case of heatstroke, I made the wise and uncharacteristic decision to get up early this Saturday...

*moment of silence for the significance of this decision*

...and run 10 miles in the early and presumed cooler hours of the morning rather than at 8am when the sun was up and looking for dewy flesh to scorch the shit out of.

And due to some miraculous occurrence, I walked out onto our front porch Saturday morning at 6am to find that it was 54 degrees and, GASP, foggy.

Oh, so that's why everyone runs early on the weekends. I see...

I had new squishy soft insoles in my shoes. I had an hour+ of new tunes on my iPod which was miraculously charged and functioning fully. I was wearing my freshly clean does-not-strangle-me-yet-provides-ample-support sportsbra. And - YES - it was cool outside.

I didn't even have to put my sunglasses on because it was, like, a little bit dark still.

If there were a better morning to get cracking on my 10 mile training run, this had to be it.

And then paranoia set in. I was pretty sure that all this perfect juju meant I was going to meet a horrible fate. Because, obviously, I'm being lured out into the wee hours of Saturday to witness or be involved in the worst event to befall human history.

Right? I mean, that is my luck after all isn't it? It's not just that I can be really pessimistic when I want to go back to bed or anything, no.

Anyway, in surprise twist of luck - nothing awful happened. I did not get bitten by a dog. My iPod didn't spontaneously combust. I wasn't even almost hit by any cars, which, in my life is mostly unheard of. I also managed to do it at about 10.5 minute/mile pace and my knees didn't immediately snap and cry out in pain, which was probably the most significant point of it all.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm really glad I finally ran the 10 miler because it was haunting me that I hadn't done it yet and I am becoming aware of the fast approaching race date and I also I was afraid I'd die or at least publicly shame myself and we all know how much I hate that.


I ran the 10 miler. It wasn't horrible. Nothing awful happened. And to reward myself, I'm going to try to not imagine getting squooshed under the recycling truck as he backs out of Starbucks without checking his mirrors.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Adopt a Crop update: Pickle visit


You're still here, huh? You've managed to sit through 7 months of my bleating about pickling cucumbers and you haven't retreated into the darkness of blogland. Geez, you're hardcore.

But really, we've had a lot of good times, don't you think?

Let's reminisce with a nice bulleted list, shall we? It's how I like to do things.
  • Well, first there was the choosing of the Adopt a Crop where I totally thought the butternut squash was going to win but somehow the pickling cucumbers pulled ahead at the last minute and I was PHEW so glad because whoopsy! I'm not sure I had enough room to grow butternut squash. Yeek. That would have been awkward.

  • Then there was the planting of the crop. Oh my yes that was a time. Not a good time, but a time nonetheless. A time when I lost a lot of seedlings to mystery evil bugs and a time when I bailed out of the seed growing business long enough to buy a seedling from the nursery in time to see a new cucumber seedling fighting its way into the garden. My hero.

  • Then there was the not dying. Which, ironically, was one of the most exciting parts of the process because it was the hardest to defeat. I'm not sure why plants' first inclination when reaching my garden is to wilt dramatically and then fake their own deaths, but the cucumbers were no different and there were times when I think they also stunted their own growth to spite me. Yes, I feel that cucumbers are vindictive and vengeful vegetables and who can really blame me? They have spines after all.

  • Then there was the first cucumber on the plant. Oh my, what a moment. When the plants that had previously tried to curl up and die a quiet death while flipping me the bird suddenly perked up and started blooming incredibly prolific amounts of blooms and then also tiny fruits. And they didn't seem so mad anymore about the fact that I'd provided the hunting grounds for the bugs that had annihilated their predecessors. If only we, the human beings, could learn such forgiveness from these fruits. (I such a moon maiden)

  • Then the first cucumber came OFF the plant, which was big because even when they're on the plant, they could still get chewed or decimated in one of a million tragic ways, so getting them off the plant is the key. Because then I can mother hen them in my house and begin to thumb through all the pickle recipes like a stalking psycho.

  • Then there was the naming of Fluffy, which was a momentous occasion because the winner of the naming contest was none other than Decca who was also the nice woman who married Bubba and I, so this was kind of an interesting full-circle-ish kind of event that made me go awwwwwwwww inside and then laugh out loud because of the porno references. What a perfect bizarre family we make, all of us societal rejects.

  • Then there was the first harvest which was sacrificed to a really unfortunate recipe that tasted like, well, a horse's ass. I have not yet had the heart to toss the victims of my first foray into pickling, but the rest of the cucumbers are safe from ever having to meet that end as I've torn out that page of the cookbook so as not to repeat that mistake. Sorry, first crop, you were the guinea pigs in this experiment and you met a distasteful end.

  • And, finally, there were the pickles. Oh the glorious pickles that actually looked like the pickles in my mind. How normal they looked all squashed into their salt and dill and vinegar brine like normal pickles would be. All cozy with their one slice of bell pepper which I wanted to ignore in the recipe but got all what if it does some secret necessary thing that will destroy the pickles if omitted and left in after all. WOW. Really so fun to see something turn out right. Even if I did have to follow the recipe really closely to get these results. And they tasted good which was more surprising to me than it should have been.

See, what a ride we've had with these pickles. I haven't sung any kumbayah or anything, but I'm sure it could still happen. I drink that much.

So what to do now that the pickle's season is over and the space is about to be freed up for future planting?

Oh - sorry if you didn't realize this was also me telling you that the cucumbers have fizzled (thank you Jeph for that reference, it's really the best way to describe what they do) and are about to be unceremoniously yanked from the garden to make way for something new or maybe nothing at all, I haven't decided yet.

Anyway - I thought it would be good to go back to our roots (OMG I'M HYSTERICAL.) with this little experiment and do a little giveaway. Send some pickles on their aforementioned visit from which they will not return.

Fun, right?

So - if you voted for pickles or voted for one of the other crops (no one will hold it against you) or you've read all the posts or you're just coming upon this giveaway now because you're that kind of blog whore that just goes around entering yourself in random contests to win pickled produce - leave me a comment with your name and I will choose a winner to receive a jar of Finny's Homecanned Pickles.

Oh, you want this, do not lie to yourself.

I'll give you a bit to do this, say until 9/4, and on 9/5 I will shove all your names into a random winner chooser device and announce the winner right here.

And then we'll probably do some handing over of home addresses and things so that I can ship you your pickles and then maybe you'll not file an indictment for malicious food poisoning against me when you get botulism from my canning methods (Don't worry, I've sampled these pickles and they're perfectly safe.) and instead just really enjoy your pickles with a nice hot dog or something.


Ok, comment away and I'll be back soon with other garden updates and on 9/5, I'll let you know who's getting a Pickle Visit.

That sounds porny. I love this game.

[UPDATE] In the interest of full disclosure, I feel like I should show you a photo of the pickles that would actually becoming for a visit:

See, the ones at the top of the post are the refrigerator pickle spears (pretty good) that I made, but since they're refrig ones and also we've opened them and eaten some, I can't, in good conscience, send them to you. What with our finger germs and what not. SO - the Pickle Visit pickles will be whole dills, properly canned and sealed without the intervention of my cootie fingers.

I hope this is OK, but if you want to back out of the random choosing, you just let me know.

That's all for general disclosures now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Farm Share Killer [RECIPE]

Remember those mailmen (and women, let's be fair) in the late 80s that ran into their post offices screaming "The mail won't stop! It keeps coming and it has driven me to managing my stress with firearms!" while gunning down coworkers and old ladies mailing dead cats to their relatives?

Yes, well, my details might be a little off but still, let's say that I now know how they feel.

Because if you swap "mail" with "vegetables" and "firearms" with "Farm Share Killer recipes" then you might get a hint of what I feel like every Thursday when the farm share arrives.

See, the farm share, she keeps on coming. Even if there's still carrots from last week or potatoes from two weeks ago or even if the bread (we also get bread in our share) has turned furry and begun to ask about our office perks. And whether we've eaten the kale in the crisper or not (always not). It's an hysteria inducing scenario, let me just tell you.

And while I'm just telling you things, let me also just tell you my personal newly crafted opinion on kale: I'm not a fan.

To me, kale is just chard's ugly cousin that tastes about the same except has the added risk of potentially tasting like a big ball of hair if one doesn't cook it long enough. I don't appreciate this. I also don't appreciate it showing up at my house every week even though I have made it widely known that I have too much chard to eat and have established a household ban on leafy greens beyond chard (OK, and spinach - I love spinach).

Anyway, that's my two cents on stupid kale. And if you're ever splitting a farm share with me, expect to get a surprisingly large "split" of kale because, haha, when it's my turn to pick up and divide the farm share, I don't divide the kale. I just give it all to you and act like WOW they gave us so much kale this week, how cool! because I'm a bitch like that. Hey, you said you loved it. It's your own fault.

Back to the Farm Share Killer thing though, in order to keep my farm share anxiety levels below Homicidal, I institute Farm Share Killer night in our house. Now, I haven't officially named it this until right now, but that's basically what I'm thinking when I go to the fridge on Wednesday nights (or Mondays if I'm feeling extra jittery), throw open the crisper and go Who wants a piece of me, bitches? while grabbing at whatever vegetables have the gall to still be sitting in my fridge, just one night before the new recruits show up.

And once these vegetable leavin's are laying out on my countertop for all my eyes to see, I try to come up with some way to Kill them with one meal.

Sometimes it works out, sometimes it does not. Sometimes there's leftovers which is doubly insulting because GAH they were leftovers before and now they're leftovers OF leftovers. JERKS.

However, the other night, I came up with an excellent Farm Share Killer recipe that did many things well. Allow me to list them for you:
  • It used up 6 vegetables from the farm share
  • Did in the recent harvest of 3 vegetables from the garden
  • Finished an abandoned and nearly empty box of lasagna noodles
  • Used the last remnants of some Parmesan and mozzarella
  • Made very little waste AND mess
  • It tasted awesome
  • Did not create a bizarre combination of Main Dish vs Side Dish
  • Did not result in leftovers
I am sorry, but this might be The One of farm share killer recipes, y'all. Like, this is a recipe I might actually go gather ingredients for even if I weren't trying to clean out my crisper or garden. AND, I forgot the other thing, AND you can totally swap ingredients out for stuff you, personally, have on hand because it is very versatile, this recipe of mine.

Let me ask you, HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?

Yes. I'm a little jumpy today. What with the talk of firearms and all.

For the recipe then.

Farm Share Killer #1

Twice as Good Vegetable Lasagna and Roasted Green Beans
Lasagna recipe of my own devising + Roasted Green Bean recipe from Serving up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

Serves 2


1 cup broccoli (cut into florets)
1 cup crookneck squash (sliced)
1 cup spinach (rinsed and packed)
4 flat lasagna noodles (I hate the curly edged ones)
: I do not cook these noodles beforehand, that is crazy talk. Just put them in there uncooked (and you don't have to buy any special type of noodle, that is also crazy talk) and they'll come out great. Trust me on this. I barely lie about pasta.
1 batch of The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.
1+ lbs of fresh green beans
2 cups mozzarella
1/2 cup Parmesan
Extra virgins

To make
First, make up your batch of The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. even if you really want to just use that left over Classico crap that's been living on the top shelf of your fridge maybe gathering a layer of white fur. Believe me, TBTSE.Y. is worth it and makes this vurrry good.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Next, in an 8x8 glass Pyrex or something similar that you think will work (see, this is very nonrestrictive, don't you like that?) shmear some of that fabulous sauce right on the bottom of the dish. Then lay two of your flat and sexy lasagna noodles right on there. Then shmear some sauce on the noodles. Then layer spinach, squash and broccoli on top. Then some mozz and parm. Then some more sauce. Then put the noodles on top of that, add the rest of the sauce, add the rest of the vegetables in the same order as before and finish by covering it all with the rest of your mozz and parm. Sprinkle some herbs or something on top so that it doesn't look like a leathery shoe when it comes out of the oven, but instead it looks like browned cheesy herby deliciousnessocity.

I personally really like this Sardinian mixed herb and salt deal from Castroni in Rome, but I realize that this is not readily available in the States, so I won't demand you use it. I also won't be using it much because my Rome hook-up is moving state-side for a while (YAY!!!) and won't be able to get me my fix. *PANIC*


Throw the lasagna in your oven for about 45 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and browns in that fabulous way that lasagna tends to do.

While this deal is in the oven, go back to that foil-covered pan that you used to roast up your tomato and garlic for The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. and DO NOT REMOVE THE FOIL FROM THE PAN.

Oh that is right, people, we are going to reuse the extra virgin-y, salty, tomato juicey, garlic-y foil for our green beans. Shock and awe, my friends. Shock and awe.

Toss your green beans right on the foil there and roll them around to coat them in whatever ghoulish yumyum is left on the foil. Then you can also add some more extra virgins in the event they're not shiny to your liking. Set this aside until the lasagna comes out.

Take out the lasagna (Now put in your green beans for 15 minutes) and marvel at how nice and tasty it looks right there with its cheesy brown top and DO NOT FREAK OUT that there would appear to be only one layer to this lasagna.


Here's the thing, I really like the browned bubbling cheesiness that comes on the top of lasagna. I like less the mushy gushiness that usually lives inside the lasagna. And Bubba, well, he hates it in there. Especially if there's ricotta (which there's not, you'll notice). SO, I took this opportunity to fix that problem.

Slice your lasagna into four equal sized squares. I'm sure you can figure out how to do this with an 8x8 pan. I won't do the math for you, but you can imagine. Now, carefully slide one slice out of the pan and plate it as you wish.


Yes, I know, it is very fancy and technical. And I am also delusional and probably retarded a little bit, but that's OK, too.

Go through this exercise again for plate #2 and, when your beans are done (meaning they're nice and browned and roasty looking), take them out of the oven and sprinkle them with some sea salt and then toss them on the plate with your lasagna and set your ass down for an awesome Farm Share Killer of a dinner.

Look at my broccoli protrusion. It was delicious.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2 isn't enough [+ PIE]


For the last four years I've planted my yearly vegetable garden with two tomato plants. And then these two tomato plants have grown to gargantuan sizes and imposed their overabundance on us with unrelenting ferocity.

They taunt us, basically, and it gets out of hand.

And so, we've spent the last four years coming up with (delicious) ways to handle the burden oh what WILL we do of overly productive tomato plants so that we don't waste any so that I don't then have to throw myself headfirst off the roof.

I don't do waste.


I'm very proud of us now though because two tomato plants totally don't even scare us anymore. We don't even get all oh what will we do when the tomatoes start to ripen because we know exactly what we'll do. We'll consult The List (it's a mental mind list thing) and get to eating.

We have cultivated The List of Things We'll Make From The First Tomatoes over many cold tomato-less winters to the point where we know precisely the fate of every tomato that pops loose from the plants. It's very pre-meditated and we like it that way.

Some of the things from this list (because it's a mental mind list, some things might have been misplaced. It happens.) are:

Tomato sandwiches
Canned tomatoes
The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.
Tomato Pesto Pie w/ Italian Sausage

And while we don't necessarily account for the tomatoes we'll eat freely from the plants when they're still warm from the summer sun, we expect to have those too, while also having plenty to hand out to coworkers and our nice neighbors. (Shitty neighbors get NONE.)

BUT, if this season is any gauge, two tomato plants is just not enough anymore. We've managed to mastermind the tomato season to the point where we've made all the things from The List and are ready to settle into casually tossing up a tomato salad or handing a bagful through the dutch gate except we've caught up to production.


That is correct. Our wintery masterplanning has resulted in an overly efficient consumption of tomatoes. Even after going on two summer vacations during which time we were convinced they'd all ripen and rot before we could enjoy them and thus be wasted *YIKES* we've managed to consume each tomato from the plants either with our own mouths or by giving them to the mouths of others leaving us with a lull between crops.

Usually I don't even notice this lull because I'm too busy sweating my life away in the kitchen canning the winter's supply of tomatoes and wondering why it doesn't even look like I made a dent in the plants, but this year I'm like hey, there's the lull, we're right in it and oh it isn't as fabulous as I'd imagined.

Anyway. The lull is here and we're waiting on about 6 orange-ish red-ish fruits to get the second wave started and I bet you're wondering why I brought you here if there aren't any tomatoes to talk about.

Well let me tell you. I brought you here to talk about the completion of The Tomato Eating List and more specifically the most recent addition to The List and then to show you pictures of this recent addition and to also declare that it's All Food in Pie Form time again at our house WOO!

So, the most recent addition to The List, after the crucial addition of crumbled Italian sausage, is Farmgirl's Savory Tomato Pesto Pie which we call The Best Tomato Pie Ever. Yep. because I'm not creative nor do I have the energy to invest in original names and once we added the Italian sausage to this otherwise quite delicious pie it became The Best in so many ways mostly because it now included meat and that is a bonus.

In order to honor this momentous occasion, I thought I'd walk you through A Day In the Life of The Best Tomato Pie Ever. Yep. so that you could see for yourself what a fucking weirdo I am and also better imagine how delicious this pie is so that you can make it for yourself.

I won't recount Farmgirl's recipe for you because, unlike every other recipe in the whole wide world, I barely fucked with it because it's perfect (except for the meatless part), so you can go over to her site which is awesome in and of itself and get the How-tos from the Farmgirl herself. If you want to make it MEATY you can add the following ingredient/step:

Ingredient: 4 Italian sausage links

Step: After making the pesto and before making the crust (OH MY HELL THE CRUST IS SO GOOD), crumble and brown the sausage in a pan. Set aside. When you go to compile the pie itself, just add crumbled sausage between the tomato and cheese layers *swoon*.

A Day In the Life of The Best Tomato Pie Ever. Yep.
Recipe by Farmgirl, see above notes for changes.

Early in the morning, or before getting lunch tacos whatever, go to a decent meat counter or butcher (We like Lunardi's for our meats) instead of the crappy grocery store and get some legit Italian sausage. Like this here:

And when you get this meat home, slice it out of its grody casing (I spared you the photographic evidence of the grodiness, don't you love me?) and crumble it in your newly unsticky pan with your $1 wooden spoon from Target like so:

Then go out to the garden and pick a bunch of tomatoes (I think I used about four or five) and a hooge bunch of basil and bring them in to slice and from which to make pesto, respectively:

Then recall briefly how it IS so worth it to make the biscuit crust (PEOPLE, THERE IS PARMESAN IN IT YUM) and then make it because it only takes a few minutes:

When you then roll it out, you can feel so proud. Plus you know it's going to be very good.

Once you have all your fillings ready, start by lining your pie pan with the larger crust (the eyefucking method works nicely when deciding which crust is larger. I find anyway.) and start by shmearing the first layer of pesto right on there with your teeny orange spatula from CB that you love. Or whatever:

Then crack into those tomato slices and layer them on top of the pesto without even feeling guilty about how many tomatoes you're using because OH it's so worth it:

Then AND THIS IS THE ONLY CHANGE I MAKE TO THE RECIPE SO WATCH OUT add a layer of your crumbly sausage yum:

Then put the cheese on there without even thinking about how much you're using. It's better than way:

Then try to shmear on some more pesto. Don't be concerned about how neat it is or if the cheese sticks to your spatula because it'll all melt together and be glorious very soon:

Then add more tomatoes because you're frivolous:

Then do the sausage again because it's there and brown and ready to go. Does that sound bad?:

Then more cheese. I doubt you need a reason to add more cheese:

Then put the other crust on top of the whole thing, thus concealing your gluttonous shame if only but for a short time. Also try not to tear it and then cut in some air holes so that your tomatoes don't suffocate:

When you take it out of the oven, it'll look something like this or maybe more brown because you're more patient than I am. Oh isn't everyone:

And then you eat:

And don't even feel ashamed for making sexy noises when you eat this pie because it is that good.

So good, in fact, that you'll totally not at all mind eating the rest of it as leftovers for the next three days. And also don't feel bad if you have leftovers that you end up freezing because I hear that it freezes beautifully. Not that I can confirm those rumors because we don't ever have any leftovers of this pie due to its awesomeness.

So now The List is complete and we're experiencing the lull between crops, but since it's supposed to warm up again this weekend, I'm hoping we'll get at least another pie out of the deal.

And then next year the plan is to double our tomato plants (we like Better Boy, but I won't judge you if you plant some fruity heirloom kind that looks like an anus) up to FOUR so that I can go back to freaking out about what will I do with all these tomatoes because that is the way I prefer to live my life, OK.

Happy Pie.